Friday, June 10, 2011

CAN'T I JUST BE HAPPY?

I suspect this post isn’t at all what you thought it was from the title, but we’ll see. I was driving to work this morning, thinking about heading out to the quilt shop today, and I started thinking about my mental “wish list” for fabrics.

Remember those fabrics I posted awhile back? The ones many of us were drooling over in anticipation of their release in the next couple months? Yep, those.

Okay, so I was thinking about those fabrics–or fabrics of that type, which I kind of lump together in my little ole brain as “happy fabrics”–and it occurred to me that my local shops just don’t usually carry those lines. And it’s kind of frustrating!

I should mention that when I talk about my “local shops,” I’m pretty much just referring to TWO–the two that are most convenient to my work and home, the new Fabric Garden and the older Quilters’ Corner. But I could just as easily be talking about the now-closed Bearpaws & Hollyhocks. (I don’t want my readers to think there are only two shops in the area, though–there are others, but they’re not as close or as convenient for me.)

All of my local shops are heavy on the 1800s/Civil War fabrics. And while I do enjoy a bit of Civil War action from time to time, I use it mostly in small quilts, so I don’t use a lot of it. The two shelves I have in the Sweat Shop are probably enough to last me until the NEXT civil war.

My local shops DO carry other new lines, but they seem kind of unmemorable to me. No Sweetwater. No Bonnie and Camille. No Monica Happy Zombie. So I order those kinds of fabric on line, but I’d sure rather buy them locally. At least I’m lucky enough to have one shop that carries Quilt Soup fabrics, but they tuck them away in the back room (much like racy books and magazines sold in brown paper wrappers, maybe?!).

I wonder if my tastes are just different from other quilters in my area? How about where you live? Does your local shop carry the brighter, happier fabrics? Inquiring minds need to know these things . . . .

28 comments:

Donna said...

Count yourself lucky to have more than one quilt shop. There is a wonderful one - ONE - where I live.

Suzan said...

I live about 5 miles from Lancaster County, PA. We have lots of quilt shops in the area but until recently could not find "modern" designers like Joel Dewberry, Amy Butler, etc. Thankfully, Burkholder's Fabric is under new management and the selection of fabrics is incredible. They always carried Moda before but now they have all the lines. Best thing, guild and sewing circle members always get at least a 15% discount. I am very thankful for my favorite quilt shop! (And, no, I don't work for them or get paid by them...darn!)

Nannie said...

Back when I was quilting, before machine embroidery hijacked my brain...I had the opposite problem! I LOVE Civil War repros, but the most local shop doesn't carry them and the other only carries a small quantity. Now that I'm looking for "happy" fabrics for kiddie items, it does seem to be as you say...limited lines and none of the more exciting ones...just more generic. Do you think maybe those are cheaper to stock??

Wilma NC said...

We have a couple of quilt shops, Cotton Company in Asheville, and Marti's Patchwork Cottage in Black Mountain. Then there is the Hancocks store. And that's pretty much it. Lots of people here quilt, and there is a huge guild, but I think most everyone goes to Mary Jo's in Gastonia, too far away for me.

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

We only had one major one within 100 kms, just closed, would only sell similar to you, none of the new brights..i suggested even fat quarters but to no avail. ow hard would that be...tucked away in the back room even!

Kelly Ann said...

Great observation Kim...around here the shops have a different feel but I was in Salt Lake City last month and the three shops I went into to all had the same feel, they were all lovely but the fabric and patterns all had the same look.

Deb said...

I have 2 local quilt stores only one carries some of the popular lines, but is a very small store. My next choice for stores are more than 50 miles away, and again, one of them never carries the very popular lines, and tends to only purchase those fabrics that the owner prefers, not considering the buyer - her choice is always very dark fabrics. Think owners need to consider the buyer and bring in lines that are popular to the public, think it would help the sales. Like you, I buy the popular lines that I would like to have on-line, taking away from my local economy and supporting my local businesses.

Quilt Hollow said...

I'm always willing to travel over an hour to get to what was my favorite shop selling Jo Morton and civil war fabrics. They have since closed. (bummer but like you I'm well stocked) The closer shops carry the brighter fabrics that aren't necessarily me...I rarely go. I find myself online.

Marj said...

In my local quilt shop, the owner carries mostly turkey reds, browns and teals. For blenders she chooses Moda marbles, so boring. I also wish for brighter colors. But on the bright side I can drive thirty minutes to the next closest shop and get all the brights. So I end up doing the farthest shop's BOM program. They also usually give a generous discount on everything in the shop on BOM day.

Jen in NY said...

Kim, this is exactly my problem too! There are only two semi-local quilt shops, and neither one carries much happy fabric. They're heavy on batiks, civil war, and other stuff I'm not nuts about. Maybe a stray Lakehouse bolt but that's about it. I think we need to live in Utah near Nanette!

Annemiek said...

I am so lucky! There's only ONE quiltshop in my vicinity and all she has is bright, happy and cheerfull. No dark roses, civil war or whatever gloomy fabric is "hip" around here.
Downside? Fabric on the other side of the pond is 3 times as expensive as in the US, so yards are ordered online and fq's bought at the fav shop!

Lady of the Cloth said...

What local quilt shops? We have one small shop and a little selection in the back of Craft Warehouse, but other than that, it's the one with the crazy owner who hides baby alarms all over so she can eavesdrop on the customers. All of our shops here in Vancouver, WA have gone the way of silent movies. I can still drive to Portland, OR but I have to really want something to brave the traffic and take the time and a 1/4 tank of gas. I wonder if the on line stores have had any link to the closing of the LQS?? I do like to shop in my jambes, but you can't fondle the fabric. Carline

debbie said...

I'm lucky to live near (12 to 35 miles) from four quilt shops. The closest one is very small. She opend about 18 months ago and hopes to grow her business while she is working her 9 to 5, and have it as a retirement job, so to speak. She doesn't have a large variety of fabrics, but does have a variety of styles of fabrics.
The second one is larger, about 18 miles away. She has lots of juvenile, floral, civil war, etc. Quite a mix, but different lines than the small shop.
The other two shops are about 35 miles from my home and as different as night and day. They sell fabrics from different companies. I think the one doesn't sell any moda (;oO). They have scads of CW reproduction, different batiks (mfr), Large selection of florals, including the Floral fabrics for the States. They also sell trains and have a nice collection of train novelty fabric. This shop is stuffed from floor to ceiling with fabric.
The fourth shop is large and spacious, bright and airy. They have a fantastic class room. And they sell different fabrics than the other 3 shops. They have the Amy Buttler stuff, the mod, Ty P, etc. They have lots of Moda, sell batik from at least 2 suppliers for a lovely, huge selection.
It may sound strange, but it is rare that i find the same fabric in any of the four shops. I don't know how they do it, but I'm sure it's why they are all able to operate in such a small area.
Where is this quilting mecca, you ask? In rural southern Maryland, south of DC! I'm not sure I can even list how many shops are within and hour and a half drive of me. I think the fall shop hop has 12 to 14 stores on it, and there are others that do not participate!
Signed,
Broke, but well supplied in SO.MD

Paula said...

I think you and I should swap houses! Every shop around here leans heavily toward your "happy fabrics" and I LOVE CW fabrics and can't find them locally. I have to order everything online. One quilt shop has nothing but MODA. And, that's it. I think that's a bit weird. One nice thing about that is, if you ever run out of a MODA fabric, she probably has it. Her shop is stuffed with tons of older lines as well as every new line, as it comes out.

Anonymous said...

The Pincushion Boutique is reopening their retail store this weekend. New address is 1605 2nd St, Davis.
Check it ouT
Kathy B
Yolo, CA

dianne said...

me, too! i don't like the nearby shop that brags 65% of their space is dedicated to CW and 30's repros - waste of space, if you ask me! not all of us want to make copies of heirlooms - i want to make things that make me and mine happy and, maybe, turn into a different kind of heirloom, yaknow?!?

batiks make me happy - so two of the local shops are good for me - but Auntia likes the same lines that you like - when the shops carry them, they don't carry ALL of them, so we drive around wasting gas and not finding what she thinks she can't live without ... i guess carrying yardage of all of a line is a HUGE risk and a VERY expensive investment - The Quilt Store took a BIG loss on last year's Kazinski christmas line and they're STILL whining about it...

word ver is hotest - i think it's missing a "t" ... or maybe it's a test for a mmmmhmmm?

raleysmom said...

I know how you feel. The quilt store closest to me sells alot of Thimbleberries and 1800's so I tend to buy most of my fabric online. I also like Sweetwater and Lakehouse is one of my fav's. Craft Town fabrics online usually sells all of their precuts at a sale price. It's not often that something I want is at the local stores. Thank goodness for the internet.

Kim West said...

There are four shops on the island that sells quilter's cotton. One is closing. Another doesn't sell much fabric, it is more Hawaiian prints and classes. One more is so tiny and so little parking it is hard to go to. The last one, is bigger, lots of parking, but it sells other fabrics too, so only half the store is quilting cottons. None of them carry Moda fabrics. I love moda. I prefer moda. I would rather shop locally if they carried more of what I like - same as you.

Lee Ann said...

It is tough! I have to drive between 30 to 45 minutes to get to the three shops that I like best around here. The rest are further away anyway.

The one furthest away has the most 'happy' fabrics; but, they're a small shop and tend to not sell the complete line of them.

The one I like the best is the one closest to me. However, I can go quickly batty inside because they're like a huge warehouse. And, they don't sell the happy fabrics nor complete lines nor basics fabrics that read as solids. If I'm needing basics, I have to go to yet another store that just overflows with them. It's frustrating.

I've been doing a lot of my shopping online simply because the locals do not fit my need for happy fabrics.

You're not alone. I want to buy local. But, I also want to buy complete lines of fabrics (such as 1/2 yard of each). Yes, I'm a glutton for fabric. But, I am also picky. I have to fall in love with the line before I even buy any. :-)

PunkiePie (Jen) said...

Amen Sister! You are not alone. The most local quilt shop to me (10 minutes away) is VERY into the "traditional" fabrics and Asian themed. She carries NOTHING of Sweetwater, Bonnie and Camille... none of the "happy" fabric lines that I so crave. I asked her once, mind you she's roughly my age, and she says she just doesn't care for them and won't stock them. Another LQS will get pre-cuts and a few bolts of the "happy" fabric but not enough to suit me. So me too. I'm stuck ordering online. I would love to support the local business man if they had what I liked! There is one shop that is now carrying Riley Blake which I love but it's over an hour away from me one way. I haven't made it over there recently. Hopefully sometime over the summer I will take a ride.

Moneik said...

We have several great local shops, all with their own unique personality. The one I frequent/teach at has a more modern flair to it, simply because the owner/buyer is younger and it has more of her likes. But she also has a mix of other fabrics, that appeal to a variety of people. The repro's and Civil War fabrics are few and far between in our area, which is fine for me, but I'm doing a friendship block swap and one lady wants a block made out of CW fabrics, so it would be nice to have a small selection at at least one shop. I think the shops tend to be what the owner likes and not necessarily what the consumer wants. I've tried helping pick fabrics and I know it's a hard job since I tend toward those I like and don't necessarily pick what others would like. Sometimes we get in a LQS slump and just need to look somewhere else to get some inspiration. I know I have that feeling now since I stop at least once a week and know all the fabrics, where they are, what's new, etc. I'm looking forward to the quilt show this weekend for some new vendors to buy from! Oh and maybe I'll take a look at the quilts, but I'm way more into the vendors.

Josie McRazie said...

very sad to say that in my area there are very few 'quilt' shops to purchase fabric! and one is going out of business, must be a sign of the times! I have to do most of my buying at the big chain stores, althought the two that are still here do have wonderful fabrics available!

Hand Quilting Nana said...

We have had two local quilt shops close recently. One had mostly darks and civil war prints. The other had the floral and shabby chic sort of fabric I like but was in a small town and couldn't attract enough customers.

Just had a new one open close to me but it is small and has limited inventory and the owner and only person working there is just like she's in another zone. I mean when you try to talk to her she just looks like she is zoned out and if someone else walks by she will start talking to them. So I have to resort to mail order too.

I am looking forward to the AQS show in Knoxville, TN in July because there is an awesome quilt store in Sevierville I believe called Quilting by Iva and another awesome one in Knoxville called Mamaws. I apologize if I got their names wrong. But I know where they are.

Linda

Pink-a-Palooza said...

Hi Kim,
Im in Sac, worked at BP&HH the last 3 months before closing.I prob. know u by face, not name...lol
Anyhoo, I agree, and believe that shops really need to "Hip up" thier selections to appeal to the under 50 crowd. The 30 somethings want the fresh, hip fabs and usually have to go online to buy them. Runs with Scissors is mostly mod fabs, so thats one shop in Sac. Otherwise I get some at Beverley's, and online.
We need the next generation of quilters to keep the art going, and the shops need to carry lines of more modern fabs..Just sayin...lol
I have a good example of "fresh" fabs in a quilt I just finished that is on my blog (yesterdays post)...
My 3o something neighbor has ordered a quilt from me. I sent her to Fab Garden first where she only found one piece. We then went to Beverly's where she bought the bulk of the fabs..
Take care,
Gael

MJinMichigan said...

I'm a huge fan of Civil War repros and also the bright, cheerful prints especially Japanese fabrics. Unfortunately my two LQSs carry very little of what I like. Both carry a little of everything but not enough of any one type fabric to make a quilt. I would like to support them so I usually check there first but end up ordering online. I can't tell you how many times I've wished for a really GOOD LQS.

Marla said...

The shops where I am do carry the "Happy" lines of fabrics which I like some of but I am mostly a CW kind of gal. I do a lot of traveling in my job and so stop at every shop I can find if possible. I can usually find what I want then and do the rest online.

freespirit said...

Hi, I moved back to Sacramento last July & was disappointed at the overall selection of fabrics unless I want to drive a ways. I don't do CW, Thimbleberries, repros, dark themes, etc., either. I want the upbeat, brighter fabrics that are representive of today. Yesterday has come & gone now I want to leave my mark with what is current. I used to only buy locally when I lived in Colorado but since moving here I have been going the way of the internet & that makes me sad.

Linda said...

My lone nearby quilt shop sells only brights. I like reproductions, small prints, earth tones so I have to order online....keeps the Post Office in business I guess!!!